This fascinating book contains probably the most expert stories of espionage ever written. For a period of time after it was first published, the book became official required reading for persons entering the British Secret Service.
During World War I, Maugham enlisted with an ambulance unit, but was soon shifted to the Intelligence Department. Although these stories were based on the author's own experiences as a British agent during the war, he emphasized that they were written purely as entertainment, at which, indeed, Ashenden succeeds. Maugham's clarity of style, the perfection of his form, the subtlety of his thought, veiled thinly behind a worldly cynicism, has made him an international figure.
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... to Vevey or to Lausanne ; but he could never be sure that the secret police had
not taken note of him , and if he had been followed and seen to land in France ,
the fact that there was no stamp on his passport would be difficult to explain .
... from Switzerland , was first sent there , R . , wishing him to see the sort of
reports that he would be required to obtain , handed him the communications , a
sheaf of typewritten documents , of a man known in the secret service as Gustav .
Ashenden had had two secret interviews with him in Yokohama and had learnt
that Professor Z . , though eager to free his country from the Austrian rule and ,
since he knew that this could only come about by the downfall of the Central